For 2011, MayKingTea set a goal to collaborate with other businesses and I was especially excited to deliver the first of many tea-pairing classes a few weeks ago. I’ve attended tea-and-chocolate classes before, read about tea-and-cheese pairings, and soaked up many articles about cooking desserts with tea, but I thought I’d try something a little different – pairing teas with desserts. These pairings were a great success, not only due to the carefully selected teas and desserts, but also due to the tea education that was a fundamental part of the class as well. Let me explain:
- Jasmine Buddha Tears paired with Mango Meringue. ?As I was introducing good-quality, loose-leaf tea to a relatively new audience, it made sense to introduce a tea that the audience might already be familiar with. Introducing this white tea, naturally scented with jasmine, was somewhat in their comfort zone, but not entirely. The floral notes of the meringue complemented the natural scent of the jasmine and provided the perfect backdrop to talking about the different categories of tea, the right way to make tea, and the differences between using teabags and loose-leaf tea.
- High Mountain Oolong paired with Violet Crumble Cheesecake?. I’m often asked about the health benefits of tea. By introducing an oolong into the pairing class, I had the opportunity to set the record straight on miracle-slimming, all-dancing, all-singing, weight-loss oolong teas. As this tea was picked by a farmer in Nantou, it also gave me the opportunity to discuss fair trade and organic teas. There were lots of oohs and ahhs when I explained why my teas were not fair trade or organic. The sweetness of the cheesecake paired well with the stone fruit flavors of the high mountain oolong.
- Ashitaba Herbal paired with Tiramisu. I’m often asked by customers about my caffeine-free “teas,” so I was extremely excited when I came across this caffeine-free herbal. The roasted notes of this Japanese herbal worked well with the coffee flavors of the tiramisu. Introducing herbal infusions can, of course, enable the tea educator to talk about the effects of caffeine in tea versus other caffeinated beverages and introduce the calming components of L-theanine and Gaba. This pairing was a great match and caused much excitement among the audience.
Many people love desserts. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, or if you conduct tea-appreciation classes through MeetUp or by other means, collaborating with a pastry chef or a dessert café may be a wonderful way to introduce some of your premium-quality teas to a new audience.